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Mary Gannon and the West Side Y

mary gannon - west side ymca -

Wherein I meet Mary Gannon and stay at the West Side YMCA and learn my novel is stupid — all in the same glorious trip.

Last Sunday I returned from a Literary Writers Conference in Manhattan, where I read from my work and received critiques from literary agents, gong show style (“I’m bored — stop reading”). I also learned about how to get published (“you have better odds at winning the lottery — you should strongly consider throw in the towel”).

It was a tough love boot camp, no question. And it rocked. Seriously. Okay, not really. There was, admittedly, no music and very little dancing.

And **famous person alert** I actually had the chance to chat with Mary Gannon, Editorial Director of Poets & Writers Magazine. I know, right? Mary Gannon! I can’t believe it either.

If you’re all like, “um, who’s Mary Gannon?” then I envy you. See, you would have shaken her hand and been your usual charming, inquisitive self. “Tell me a little bit about yourself,” you would have said. And a conversation would have ensued.

Me, I was so starstruck I dive-bombed straightaway. “It’s an honor to meet you” was the only coherent thing I was able to stutter.

My friend Joanne joined me on this trip, though she skipped the conference, as she has little interest in gong show style critiques or novel writing. On Saturday, we (Joanne and me — Mary Gannon is avoiding me like the plague) took the train to Brooklyn, then hoofed it from Brooklyn to the West Side YMCA where we were staying. That’s a 10-mile walk, people. And it was fabulous. We discovered something called the High Line. We passed waterside lofts and shaded brownstones. We sipped coffee at a Parisian-style cafe. And we probably saw people. I’m not sure, as the deepest conversation I had with anyone outside of Joanne is with Mary Gannon.

L-O-V-E this city.

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